Friday, September 18, 2009

Are Social Networking Sites Propelling Christians to the Cutting Edge of Culture?

I wonder...

In the 80's and 90's Christians were notoriously lagging in cultural awareness, let alone leading cultural revolutions. Christian movies were poorly made, our fashion seemed inspired by the days of the covered wagon, and our music was so lame even Jesus couldn't heal it. And while our humor obviously hasn't evolved much since then, our cultural 'coolness' I think has.

Christians seem to be making a cool comeback. We are getting hipper, trendier, and moving more and more toward the cutting edge of culture. We love iphones, google, and hip-hop. But why is this? I suppose it is in part a response to all that under-achievement from before. Our greatest fear is being corny our 'out of it'. But I also wonder if social networking isn't a good friend of the cool Christian.

The reality is that Christians know a lot of other Christians. And so when word on a new innovation, song, restaurant idea, website, application, or anything else comes out...because we have a lot of twitter and facebook friends, word spreads fast. So rather than falling behind culture as we did for so many years, we are finally catching up. And I wonder, is it possible that in another 10-15 years if we might not actually start to lead?

I don't know if it will happen. Perhaps we have been in a cultural sprint over the last 10 years and our endurance will fade fast. But I for one hope that our engagement with social networking will become a catalyst for a whole new generation of 'cool Christians' that move to the front edge of culture creation and become the icons of cool to many. If so I will attribute responsibility for this revolution to the following places and in this order:

1. God
2. Facebook
3. Twitter
4. The Evangelical Covenant Church

1 comment:

  1. Here's some thoughts I have been pondering for awhile that seem to connect a little with yours. One of the things I hear Christians saying round these parts is "We just need other's to see that Christians can have fun too." I used to be a of like mind. Then a thought popped into my mind (from the Spirit?), "Why is that Christians seek to make fun the thing that defines them?" Is it because we have been plagued by the yesteryears of corny which the Simpsons so aptly portrayed? Indeed Christians are becoming more with it, I think some for the good, others not so much. But if cool becomes the new "fun" wouldn't we still be missing the boat? I think what defined the early church and Christ Himself was love, not cool or fun, although I'm sure he was a pretty cool an fun guy to hang around. As the body connected to the Head which is Christ, shouldn't love be the thing that set's us apart from the world? I think a community of love could even be more relevant than a community that's cool!

    As far as social networking sites go, I like them...and I don't. On one hand it is a great way to get information out to a lot of people and find out what's going on in the lives someone you used to connect with regularly. On the other hand it has the potential to give us more surface level info about a lot of people while hindering us from going deeper with a few. In short it has the potential to pull us away from the Christian community that God intends. In our busy lives, true community can be difficult to both create and maintain. As Randy Frazee says in his book "Making Room for Life:" "We (as a community of believers)simply aren't principle characters in one another's life." The opportunity to essentially continue almost every relationship you ever had in life can take time away from really investing in a few and being well known by a few. Indeed it's a matter of "using it wisely" but do we?

    What do you think?